Understanding ERP modules

There is a common belief that in ERP, one size fits all. However, with many verticals and departments that an ERP solution can cover, just using an off-the-shelf solution can be very unrealistic. A Microsoft Dynamics implementation alone can help retailers, manufacturers, financial institutions and more. But the idea with ERP is that it's meant to address specific problems that are associated with a particular business. Even in areas that share specific structures, such as inventory, a store will not have the same needs and issues as a parts manufacturer. Customizing an ERP solution can help, but that tends to only work for large enterprises that have the time and resources to work closely with the vendor. For other businesses, there is the option of ERP modules.

Adding things on
As TechTarget explains, most current ERP systems are now modular rather than static. They tend to be made of multiple programs that are designed for specific uses within a business. This includes specific apps for accounting, physical inventory management, customer service and relations, fixed assets among many others. These programs vary in scope and use, which can benefit specific verticals.

For manufacturing, the primary modules that are used are warehouse management systems and supply chain management. WMS oversees the distribution process of a completed part from the moment it leaves the assembly line to the moment it's place on a shipping truck to fulfill a specific order. For manufacturers of mass goods, there is a great incentive to use this module, because it gives them far better control of their completed inventory.

Supply chain management modules offer control over several aspects of the entire supply chain for a manufacturer. While they can't automatically procure raw materials necessary to complete a part or product, they can use procurement data and production history to get a forecast on how much goods they need in the coming weeks or months. In other parts, they can oversee logistics, such as prioritizing shipping or dealing with contracts for large orders and returns of defective goods.

When looking at different options for ERP management, there has to be a consideration for these modules. This is especially the case with manufacturers, since they have very specific demands. However, understanding them requires a bit of learning and expertise. ERP Focus argues that it is best to learn one module at a time and only focus on mastering specific modules that are most important to the company's productivity. As it stands, with so many modules to work with, it can be very difficult to understand them all.